Foundations

The foundations technical working group is one of five technical working groups of the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), consisting of experts from each of the OWA’s partner organisations and the Carbon Trust. It focuses on supporting advancements in offshore wind turbine substructures, at all stages of their lifecycle.

The group has played a key role in the development of new foundation designs since its inception over ten years ago, and continues to support industry development.

Current objectives of the group are:

  • Assessing and mitigating risks related to larger turbines, deeper water wind farm sites, asset integrity and supply chain.
  • Furthering understanding, innovation and improvement of offshore operations, including site and environmental condition monitoring, installation, logistics and decommissioning.
  • Contributing to standardisation and the harmonisation of standards. 
  • Engaging, supporting and developing the supply chain.

Projects

Below are examples of key pieces of work from the foundations technical working group.

Suction installed caisson foundations design guidelines 

In 2019 the ‘Suction installed caisson foundation design guidelines’ were published to provide clarity and guidance to the industry on the design of suction caissons foundations. The document provides an overview of the critical factors to consider when designing these foundations, and to give practical support to engineers in order to manage the design process efficiently and cost effectively.

Underwater inspection methods

This study looked at underwater inspection methods and its challenges – especially those that are new and unique to offshore wind. The study identified that there were a number of technology gaps and the OWA launched a competition in July 2017 to identify new technologies that could inspect specific defects in steel substructures. Winning submissions were announced in 2018 and received development support from the OWA.

Foundations innovation competition

In 2011 the OWA launched the foundations innovation competition to help support innovative foundation designs. From 104 entries, four winners were selected:

  • GBF – A float-and-sink gravity base structure
  • Keystone Engineering -  An inward guided batter structure (IGBS) jacket foundation installed with a met mast in the Hornsea Round 3 Zone 
  • SPT Offshore – A suction bucket jacket foundation used as the foundation for a single turbine demonstration as part of the Bokrum Riffgrund offshore wind farm project
  • Universal Foundation – A suction bucket foundation installed with two met masts in the Dogger Bank Round 3 Zone 

Many of these demonstrations were first-of-a-kind for offshore wind at their scale and location. The competition had considerable impact in promoting and supporting innovation, and bridging the gap to market for the most promising concepts. This also pushed the established market to be competitive and innovate as well.

Contact

For any questions relating to the foundations workgroup please contact owa@carbontrust.com.

Related

Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA)